Tagged: Brian Buscher

Greetings from Toronto and Happy Labor Day!

After missing the last three games in Cleveland to attend a friend’s wedding, I’m back on the beat with the club in Toronto.

It’s the first time I’ve made the trip to Toronto since the Twins opened the 2006 season here. So I’ve been getting reacquainted with the city as well as trying to catch up with the Twins after a tough weekend in which they went 1-2 vs. the Indians and  fell to 7 games back of Detroit in the AL Central standings.

The Twins will try to get back on track offensively at the Rogers Centre, where they’ve lost seven straight and have won just 1 of their last 10 games.

As I’m writing this, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and some of the players are greeting former Twin Randy Ruiz behind the batting cage. Ruiz, who is is batting .296 with six home runs and 11 RBI in 20 games for Toronto, was struck in the side of his face by a pitch in a contest against the Yankees on Sunday afternoon and is not in the lineup for the Blue Jays today. Ruiz seems to be OK though as he joked with his former teammates and coaches, motioning how the pitch hit his face.

Orlando Cabrera and Brendan Harris are both getting a day off. Gardenhire said that many of his club’s bats looked a little slow on Sunday so he decided to mix up the lineup a little bit. Nick Punto will get the start at shortstop and Brian Buscher is slotted in at third base.

Joe Crede planned to do everything in batting practice today, including fielding ground balls. How Crede feels after today will determine whether he takes part in the simulated game that Francisco Liriano will pitch on Tuesday.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (68-68)
2nd place in AL Central, 7 games back

Denard Span, CF
Nick Punto, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: RHP Jeff Manship (0-0, 3.75)

Blue Jays (61-75)
4th place in AL East, 25.5 games back

Marco Scutaro, SS
Aaron Hill, 2B
Adam Lind, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Vernon Wells, CF
Rod Barajas, C
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Travis Snider, LF
Joe Inglett, RF
Pitching: RHP Scott Richmond (6-8, 4.53)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Welcome September!…Tuesday Lineups: Twins vs. White Sox

After it sounded like the Twins wouldn’t call any players up today when rosters expanded, the club decided to make one move after all. Infielder Brian Buscher was promoted and is expected to join the team shortly before game time, manager Ron Gardenhire said.

The switch to indeed bring Buscher up now, although he’s been playing through a sore thumb, came after Gardenhire told general manager Bill Smith that he needed another backup infielder on the bench. So that’s the only move for now. It still sounds like Matt Tolbert (knee) and Anthony Swarzak could join the club at some point in the near future.

The big topic of the day of course was the two moves the White Sox made on Monday night — trading away Jim Thome and Jose Contreras. Neither club seemed to view it as Chicago completely throwing in the towel but I’ll have more on that in a story later.

Here are today’s lineups:

White Sox (64-68)
3rd place in AL Central, 6 games back

Scott Podsednik, LF
Gordon Beckham, 3B
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Paul Konerko, 1B
Jermaine Dye, DH
Carlos Quentin, LF
Chris Getz, 2B
Alex Rios, RF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Pitching: LHP John Danks (12-8, 3.82)

Twins (66-65)
2nd place in AL Central, 3.5 games back

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brendan Harris, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: RHP Jeff Manship (0-0, 5.14)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Buscher optioned to Triple-A Rochester

The Twins announced on Saturday afternoon that they had optioned infielder Brian Buscher to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Orlando Cabrera on the roster.

Buscher batted .227 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 53 games for the Twins this season. 

The club had expected to make a move following Friday night’s game, but Michael Cuddyer left the contest in the 11th inning with a strained lower back. Cuddyer said he expected to be fine for Saturday’s game.

Crede scratched

Twins third baseman Joe Crede was a late scratch from Monday’s lineup due to tightness in his back.

The team said that the move was for precautionary reasons.Brian Buscher was inserted into lineup at third base and took over Crede’s seventh spot in the batting order as well.

Prior to the news on Crede, the Twins had been thought to have 25 healthy players on the roster for the first time in quite awhile. Instead, they’ll likely be without Crede for the contest as manager Ron Gardenhire said that he’s hesitant to use Crede in late-game situations if his back is tight.

UPDATE: Crede said after the game that he couldn’t find a way to get his back loose prior to game time so rather than risk anything, the decision was made to have him taken out of the lineup.

The good thing is, just like last time, there’s no
sharp pain,” Crede said. “I did what I could, but you get to a point
where your back is not going to loosen up. Next thing you know, you’re
pulling something. So better to just take a day.”

Crede hopes to be back in the lineup for Tuesday’s contest in Kansas City. He’ll test the back to see if he’s ready to return.

Joe Mauer gets a rest

Joe Mauer has been battling cold and flu-like symptoms since the team was in Oakland last week and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire finally felt it was time to give the catcher a rest. The skipper said that Mauer’s bat looked a bit slow on Wednesday night. So the club’s .425 hitter is out of the lineup for Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

Instead of Mauer in the DH spot for the day game, Brian Buscher gets the nod. Jason Kubel is in left field with Delmon Young getting a break today as well. Left-handers are batting .346 off Pirates starter Zach Duke while righties are hitting just .237.

Day games haven’t exactly been kind to the Twins so far this year. They are just 7-16 in day games this season while batting .246 in those contests. So they’ll see if they can end this series on a positive note, picking up not only a day win but also a series win.

Here are today’s lineups:

Andrew McCutchen, CF
Nyjer Morgan, LF
Eric Hinske, DH
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Andy LaRoche, 3B
Brandon Moss, RF
Jason Jaramillo, C
Ramon Vazquez, 2B
Jack Wilson, SS
Pitching: Zach Duke, LHP

Carlos Gomez, CF
Brendan Harris, SS
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jason Kubel, LF
Joe Crede, 3B
Brian Buscher, DH
Mike Redmond, C
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: Nick Blackburn, RHP

And your center fielder is….Michael Cuddyer

The Twins outfield setup from the final two innings of Wednesday’s game is back for Thursday’s series finale against the A’s.

Michael Cuddyer is getting his first start of the year in center field. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Justin Morneau felt it would be a good day to DH, as he’s been getting beat up a little. And with left-handers hitting .306 vs. A’s starter Trevor Cahill while right-handers have hit just .227, Gardenhire wanted to stack as many lefties in the lineup as possible. So Jason Kubel will be in right field and Brian Buscher will play first base.

This outfield configuration could stick through this weekend for the three-game series at Wrigley Field. Gardenhire said there was no news on what has been causing Denard Span’s dizzy spells. Span saw team physician Dr. Tom Jetzer on Wednesday and was run through a battery of tests but so far nothing has been found. The outfielder is scheduled to see more doctors today. Gardenhire said it’s difficult to imagine that Span would be ready to rejoin the team on Friday as the skipper wants to find out why Span has been dizzy before returns to the lineup.

Gardenhire also said that a roster move should be coming after today’s game to activate Nick Punto (strained right groin) from the disabled list.

Here are today’s lineups as the Twins go for only their second road series win of the season:

Matt Tolbert, 2B
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, DH
Jason Kubel, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Michael Cuddyer, CF
Brian Buscher, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Pitching: Nick Blackburn, RHP

Orlando Cabrera, SS
Adam Kennedy, 2B
Jack Cust, RF
Matt Holliday, LF
Jason Giambi, DH
Landon Powell, C
Daric Barton, 1B
Rajai Davis, CF
Jack Hannahan, 3B
Pitching: Trevor Cahill, RHP

Also a reminder that you can follow me on Twitter @kellythesier for more Twins updates

Buscher taken to hospital with chest soreness, but everything checks out OK

Twins infielder Brian Buscher was taken to a Fort Myers, Fla. hospital this morning to have his chest examined after experiencing soreness in his chest, but he’s returned to the Twins complex after all of his tests checked out OK.

“He’s fine,” Twins director of baseball communications Mike Herman said.

Buscher, 27, had originally been slotted to start at first base against
the Rays, but he was scratched due to the chest soreness. Brendan Harris
was shifted to first base and Matt Tolbert will get start at third base.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he couldn’t elaborate on Buscher’s soreness because he didn’t have more information.

“He’s getting checked out. It’s something in his chest, whether it’s muscular or whatever, they took him to the hospital this morning to get him checked out,” Gardenhire said before Wednesday’s game against the Rays.

News and notes from Saturday

All right, now that my trip back from Tampa is complete — and I got some dinner — here are some of the other newsworthy things that happened on Saturday.

  • The Twins will use Monday’s off day as just that — an off day. Left-hander Francisco Liriano will come to the ballpark to throw a bullpen but otherwise there is no planned workout for the team. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that Joe Mauer might come in and catch Liriano’s bullpen, now that he’s advanced to doing that. But the team might also give him a day of rest since he’s been working out every day. The decision on whether Mauer will be the one to catch Liriano will be made by the trainers, Gardenhire said. The off day is one of four that is scheduled for the Twins during this prolonged Spring Training.
  • Any questions about whether the Twins might acquire reliever Juan Cruz were answered Saturday when he signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Royals. The contract includes a $4 million club option for 2011 with a $500,000 buyout. Although many Twins fans were hopeful that the club would sign Cruz, the two sides just never seemed to find a fit and now the Twins will move forward with Jesse Crain, Luis Ayala, and Jose Mijares as their primary setup options.
  • One of the hottest hitters for the Twins early in spring has been outfielder Delmon Young. After a 3-for-3 performance on Saturday, Young is now batting .857 (6-for-7) this spring. Although some of Young’s hits in previous games weren’t necessary bullets, he showed more power in his three hits agianst the Yankees. And Young isn’t the only one delivering hits. Brian Buscher is now 6-for-8 this spring with 4 RBIs, Jason Kubel is 2-for-4 with a home run and Carlos Gomez even delivered a home run to left field on Saturday… “The guys are swinging good,” manager Ron Gardenhire said after the club’s 7-3 win over the Yankees. “Delmon is whacking the crap out of it; Kubel looks like he’s been hitting all winter long. There have been some really good at-bats and good swings. A lot of guys look like they’ve really got it going, and it’s early. Only six or eight more weeks of spring.”  (The last part was Gardy joking…there are only five weeks left of spring –which is still plenty of time)
  • Quote of Day: Gardenhire on Nick Punto playing for Team Italy “I think he grew up in Little Italy in California. That’s why I thought I had a shot to manage the Canadian team, because I live in Little Canada.”

(And for those of you who didn’t learn why Punto is playing for the Italian team — his grandparents are from Italy)

Crede update plus Friday round-up

Just when it seemed like the Twins might be easing on their pursuit of Joe Crede, talks between the two sides are heating up once again.

As Jon Heyman of SI.com first reported, the Twins appear to be closing in on a deal with Crede. It was indicated to me that the two sides could be nearing a deal but I haven’t been able to get much info on what the possible deal might entail. It’s clear that Crede’s agent, Scott Boras, and Twins GM Bill Smith remain in discussions, although, I’m making sure to point out that I’ve heard nothing is finalized yet.

While Crede became the news on Friday night, there were a few interesting tidbits to pass along from the day.

  • Manager Ron Gardenhire said that one area he’d like to address this spring is his backup first baseman. Justin Morneau played all 163 games last season (155 at first base). And while Morneau was able to handle that workload, Gardenhire would like the option this season of giving him more rest from playing the field. Michael Cuddyer has held the backup duties at the spot in previous seasons, but Gardenhire would like to keep him in the outfield. So the likely candidates to see playing time at first will be Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris, who would make up the platoon at third base if the Twins don’t sign Crede.

  • Gardenhire also mentioned that it’s not necessarily a given that the team will go with 12 pitchers out of spring. It still seems the most likely scenario but Gardenhire won’t rule out the possibility of keeping an extra position player — “I’d like to go with 14 [position players]. But I have to talk to my pitching coach on that one. It’s going to be tough.”

  • In addition to the five Spring Training games already being televised, the Twins announced Friday that the MLB Network will be carrying four additional contests that were not previously scheduled to air on Fox Sports North or WFTC. They include the following games: Feb. 25 — Red Sox @ Twins – NESN, Feb. 28 — Twins @ NY Yankees – YES, March 1 — Red Sox @ Twins — NESN, March 17 – Twins @ Red Sox — NESN

  • Also of note, hitting coach Joe Vavra said that he’s been pleased with some of the early adjustments that he’s seen in Delmon Young’s swing. Vavra said that his stance is a little wider and that Young looks to be using his legs more. The hope is that these changes will allow Young to turn on the ball more and to use the natural power he generates with his quick hands.

I figured as something fun, I might recommend some good places to eat/see while visiting Fort Myers during Spring Training as a daily (or weekly) thing. A little warning — I don’t get out much other than to eat while I’m here so it will most likely be food related. However, I have played some nice golf courses during the few off days I have here so I’ll try to include those too. So here goes the first  recommendation.

Restaurant of the day: Cantino Laredo — a good Mexican restaurant that is located near the Bell Tower Shops at the corner of Daniels Parkway and U.S. 41. It’s first on my list because I’ve already eaten there a couple of times this trip. If you like guacamole, be sure to get it as they make it fresh at the table.